Hay Disappearance Up in 2011/12

US - Stocks of all US hay stored on farms totaled 91 million tons on 1 December 2011, down 11 per cent from a year ago.
calendar icon 20 January 2012
clock icon 3 minute read

Disappearance of hay from May-December 2011 totaled 62.6 million tons, compared with 64.4 million tons for the same period a year ago. Compared with stocks on 1 December 2010, hay stocks decreased in most of the States, except in the Upper Plains. Stock decreases in many areas were attributed to lower production and cattle producers feeding hay earlier than normal due to dry conditions in major hay-producing areas.

Roughage-consuming animal units (RCAU) in 2011/12 are estimated at 67.79 million, down from 69.17 million in 2010/11. Reduced hay supplies and lower RCAUs decrease hay stocks per RCAU to 1.34 tons, down from 1.48 tons last year.

1 December US hay stocks and RCAU

All hay production totaled 131 million tons for 2011, up slightly from the 1 October forecast but down 10 per cent from the 2010 total. Area harvested is estimated at 55.6 million acres, down 3 per cent from the October 1 forecast and down 7 per cent from last year. The average yield at 2.4 tons per acre is up 0.07 tons from October and down 0.07 tons from the previous year.

Alfalfa and alfalfa mixture hay production in 2011 is estimated at 65.3 million tons, up 1 per cent from the 1 October forecast but down 4 per cent from 2010. This is the lowest United States production level since 1959. Harvested area, at 19.2 million acres, is 1 per cent below the 1 October forecast and 4 per cent below the previous year. This is the smallest harvested area since 1949. Average yield is estimated at 3.40 tons per acre, 0.05 tons above the 1 October forecast but unchanged from 2010.

Compared with last year, alfalfa hay harvested area decreased across the majority of the Southwest and central and southern Great Plains due to unusually dry weather during the 2011 growing season. In Oklahoma, harvested area is the smallest since 1930 and production is the lowest since 1925.

Other hay production in 2011 totaled 65.8 million tons, down 2 per cent from the October 1 forecast and 15 per cent below 2010. This is the lowest United States production since 1990. Harvested area, at 36.4 million acres, is down 5 per cent from October and 9 per cent from last year, and the smallest acreage since 1998. Average yield is estimated at 1.81 tons per acre, up 0.06 tons from October but down 0.14 tons from last year.

Unusually dry conditions throughout the central and southern Great Plains and across much of the South during much of the growing season led to decreases in harvested acreage, yield, and production in major producing areas. Oklahoma and Texas were two of the States hit hardest by prolonged dryness, evidenced by the lowest other hay production since 1980 and 1972, respectively. Conversely, abundant late-August and early-September rainfall promoted increased growth in many pastures and grass hay fields from the Northeast to the Mid-Atlantic Coast. As a result, harvested acreage and yields increased in these areas from a year ago.

US corn silage production is estimated at 109 million tons in 2011, up 2 per cent from 2010. The corn silage yield is estimated at 18.4 tons per acre, down 0.9 tons from 2010. Area harvested for corn silage is estimated at 5.93 million acres, up 6 per cent from a year ago. Sorghum silage production is estimated at 2.30 million tons, down 32 per cent from 2010. Area cut for sorghum silage is estimated at 224,000 acres, down 16 per cent from the previous year. Sorghum silage yields averaged 10.3 tons per acre, down 2.3 tons per acre from 2010. Total silage per RCAU in 2011/12 is estimated at 1.641 tons, up from 1.600 tons in 2010/11.

Further Reading

- You can view the USDA Feed Outlook report by clicking here.

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